May 20, 2024

Michael Cohen offered new insight Monday into Donald Trump’s infamous “locker room talk” defense about the Access Hollywood tape—and who allegedly came up with it.

While testifying on the stand in Trump’s hush-money trial, Cohen dished out details pertaining to the Access Hollywood tape that nearly tanked Trump’s chances at taking the White House in 2016. In the bombshell recording, Trump can be heard bragging about forcing himself on women, telling interviewer Billy Bush that he would “grab them by the pussy” and describing their bodies and the way he ogles at them with obscene language.

The tape’s release shocked the nation—so much so that media coverage of Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in 2016, fell to the wayside. But Trump’s campaign was salvaged by one line that continues to bolster disgusting, misogynist rhetoric employed by private citizens and public figures across America: It was just “locker room talk.”

“I don’t think you understood what was—this was locker room talk,” Trump said at the time in an aimless apology. “I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”

But it wasn’t Trump who cooked up the campaign lifeline. Recalling a conversation he had with the former reality TV star, Cohen claimed that the spin actually came from Melania Trump.

“And the spin that he wanted put on it was that this is locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended, or at least he told me that’s what Melania had thought, and use that in order to get control over the story and minimize the impact on him and his campaign,” Cohen testified.